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CURVEBALL by Jordan Sonnenblick

CURVEBALL

The Year I Lost My Grip

By Jordan Sonnenblick

Age Range: 12 & up

Pub Date: March 1st, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-545-32069-6
Publisher: Scholastic

When Peter Friedman injures his arm the summer before starting high school, and the doctors tell him he will never pitch again, his life is turned upside down.

Not only has Peter’s pitching career gone down the tubes, his beloved grandfather is showing signs of Alzheimer’s disease. Grampa, a well-known photographer, has taught Peter much of what he knows about the craft, which comes in handy when Peter takes a photography elective at school. There he meets Angelika, a girl with the most amazing pale blue eyes, and she becomes Peter’s on-and-off-again girlfriend and moral compass throughout the story as he learns to handle high-school life, his disappointment over not playing ball, his grampa’s decline and his first relationship with a girl. The first-person point of view works well for getting readers inside Peter’s head, and his narration is poignant and frequently humorous, but the story as a whole doesn’t quite cohere: Grampa’s words of guidance and wisdom eventually feel didactic; it’s never quite believable that it takes months for Peter to tell his best friend his arm will not heal, and he’ll never play ball again; and Angelika is, oddly, too off-camera as the story ends.

Still, Peter is a likable narrator for a satisfying story with heart. (Fiction. 12 & up)